I came across a receipt for a book that Dad checked out from the library in July 2010. That was just a few months before he became sick and then went to live in the memory care unit of the assisted care facility. His dementia had progressed quite far by this point; he was wandering and unable to accomplish many simple tasks.
The book was “Children of the West: Family Life on the Frontier” by Cathy Luchetti. Despite the disease progression, he picked a book that was in one of his all-time favorite genres: history. It’s a bit of a relief to know he wasn’t checking out unauthorized biographies on Justin Bieber, ha!
Still, I wonder if he actually read any of the book or if he just looked at the photographs. Did he comprehend any of it at all, or was checking out a book just a vaguely familiar task that he still was able to indulge in? I guess I will never know. I do know he never read at the care center he ended up in, at least that I know of. The staff asked us what his hobbies were, and reading and walking were really the only things we could come up with.
Sadly, the ability to read is stripped from many of those afflicted with dementia. So instead, Dad wandered up and down the hallway of his memory care unit, a man who had lost one of the greatest pleasures of his life.